The EU-wide Eurobarometer survey of public opinion about the common agricultural policy, published 2018, show that just over 60% of respondents believe that the common agricultural policy (CAP) benefits all citizens and not just farmers. The survey of over 28,000 EU citizens in 28 EU countries was carried out in early December 2017 and among the main findings, is the acknowledgement that a clear majority of citizens (55%) see "providing safe, healthy and good quality food" as one of the main responsibilities of farmers. This is considered the single most important role played by farmers in every EU country. When asked about the priorities for the CAP, 62% of respondents (+6% since 2015) said that "providing safe, healthy and good quality food" should be the top priority for the EU’s common agricultural policy.
More information on previous Eurobarometer surveys
Awareness of support
Awareness of the CAP remains high, with more than two-thirds (67%) of respondents having heard of the support that the EU gives farmers through the CAP.
There has been little change in this figure over the past 2 surveys, going back to 2013.
At least half of the respondents in all but one country had heard of the support that the EU gives farmers through the CAP.
In terms of performance, almost three-quarters of Europeans think that the CAP is fulfilling its role in securing a stable supply of food in the EU, thus supporting the principle of food security as a key objective.
Some 64% believe that the CAP is fulfilling its role in providing safe, healthy food of high quality and 62% think that it is ensuring a sustainable way to produce food.
Perceived importance of CAP priorities
Large majorities of those surveyed think that each of the CAP 3 priorities are important:
- strengthening the farmers' role in the food chain
- developing research and innovation
- encouraging young people to enter the agricultural sector
Some 88% of respondents think that strengthening the farmers' role in the food chain is important. Reflecting this concern, the Commission is committed to bringing forward legislative proposals aimed at addressing unfair trading practices in the food chain.
When broken down at the national level, the survey shows that in almost half the EU there is clear support for European action to ensure a fair standard of living for farmers.
A policy for all the people of Europe
With just over 60% of respondents indicating that the CAP benefits all citizens, more than nine in ten (92%) think that agriculture and rural areas are important for the future.
In terms of protecting the environment and tackling a climate challenge, at least half of all respondents in the vast majority (24 of 28) EU countries agree that the CAP is fulfilling its role and in just over half (16) of the countries, at least half of all respondents agree that the CAP is fulfilling its role in creating jobs and growth in rural areas.
EU standards widely recognized
The importance of quality in the EU food and farming sector comes to fore again when citizens were questioned about issues of trade.
With environmental, animal and plant safety and quality standards all featuring strongly among the priorities for citizens, farmers and the CAP itself, most respondents also believe that these same standards should apply in broad measure to imported food as well.
Some 87% of respondents said that imports of any origin should only be allowed to enter the EU if they comply with EU standards, a sentiment shared by a majority of citizens in 18 of the 28 EU countries.
- food and feed safety
- animal health and welfare
- plant health
- cross compliance: support linked to respect of standards
Quality a strong driver of choice
Given the importance most citizens give to the quality of the food produced in Europe, it is not surprising that it is also a key factor for them when deciding what to buy.
Over three quarters of respondents said that local tradition and know-how, knowledge of the specific geographical area and a specific quality label were important in helping them decide what food products to buy, with local tradition in particular a major influence in almost all EU countries. The EU has created specific labels so consumers can easily recognize products.
More information on quality schemes
As for the labels themselves, more than 60% of respondents in every EU country said that they played an important role in deciding what products to buy.